It’s that time of year again. The morning air is comfortably crisp, pumpkin-flavored everything is everywhere, and my daily Facebook feed is filled with the obligatory “First Day of School” pictures. Look at those flashy, new backpacks and bright smiles! The parent in me wonders how they can maintain that enthusiasm and achieve academic success this year and beyond. The science nerd in me digs in for answers.Full disclosure: I am the kind of mom who believes in picking my battles. I dabble in free-range parenting.
A dear friend taught me years ago that when you travel with young children it is aptly called a work trip, not a vacation. That wordsmithing alleviated a lot of the pressure I felt to come back relaxed and revitalized any time we left town. But looking back on this summer - perhaps it was the combination of my kids getting older, or us parents setting more reasonable expectations - I’m thrilled to report we had an incredible family vacation and created memories of a lifetime!
It started with a childhood memory: My inventive father sinking a treasure chest in our garden pond in rural Bavaria. It was a truly communal affair. The excitement of my 12th birthday party guests; the onlooking neighbors filled with confusion over my father stepping into our pond equipped with rope and big rocks on a cold November day; and the joyous celebration when we retrieved the bounty with stiff, cold hands. My birthday guests and I still talk about this experience, as adults. But what makes experiences more memorable than others?